Tips on building a smarter workforce

IBM-logo-promoInvesting in talent is one of the most critical aspects to running an organization. Ask the head of any organization, and they’ll tell you the true key to success lies with your employees.

Equally as important to investing in talent, is maintaining talent, no small feat for organizations large or small. In fact, according to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics, in 2012, 18.8 percent of American workers voluntary quit their jobs, an increase from the year prior. In addition to costing organizations time and money, research suggests that replacement costs can be as high as 50-60 percent of an employee’s annual salary with total costs associated with turnover ranging from 90 percent to 200 percent of annual salary.

A smarter workforce begins with an organization’s ability to:
–Transform business processes with analytics and collaboration to improve all areas of the organization.
–Attract and recruit top talent and source the best people for your culture and business needs.
–Engage teams to productively collaborate, innovate and maximize their performance.
–Enable employees to hit the ground running and to continually learn and develop their skills so that they can make the greatest impact.

So, how do you build a smarter workforce?

It all starts with finding the right people for the job.

Companies must find the right skills and attract top talent to remain competitive and grow in today’s fast-paced business environment. The “Chief People Officer” is at the center of this transformation and will be a new, emerging role as unlocking the social workforce becomes a key focus. Through the use of enhanced social and analytic tools geared towards HR managers and professionals, teams can gain insight into how and where to find top talent that has the necessary knowledge, skills and abilities that also fit into the culture of the company.

But the job doesn’t end there. Once hired, it’s important to arm your employees with proper training, and the tools they’ll need to do their job successfully. The goal is to allow your employees to make an impact immediately.

For example, Electrolux, the multinational household and professional appliances manufacturer, uses its enterprise social networking tools to aid in the development of new and seasoned employees as well as communicating on HR related topics, such as office re-locations. Use of such a social business platform can aid in educating new employees on how to create a profile, tag their expertise, join communities relevant to their job function and use the platform to find experts and collaborate on projects. Not only does this reinforce a culture of collaboration, but employees adjust to their new role at a faster rate.

When your workforce is equipped with tools to solve problems collaboratively, the end result is better engagement, increased productivity and higher profit. In the past, organizations have struggled to attract and maintain a fast and adaptive workforce. Social technologies powered by analytics equip businesses with a means to solve challenges more quickly and fluidly.


Jonathan Ferrar headshotJonathan Ferrar is the Vice President of Smarter Workforce at IBM and is responsible for leading the strategic direction, product strategy and research and development of HR solutions for clients. Jonathan has a Bachelor of Arts and a Master of Arts degree in Natural Sciences from the University of Cambridge, UK.